re·​con·​nais·​sance | \ ri-ˈkä-nə-zən(t)s How to pronounce reconnaissance (audio) , -sən(t)s \

Definition of reconnaissance

: a preliminary survey to gain information especially : an exploratory military survey of enemy territory

Examples of reconnaissance in a Sentence

There are two helicopters available for reconnaissance. They did a reconnaissance of the enemy's position.
Recent Examples on the Web The first reconnaissance satellite, known as Corona, was launched in 1960. Star Tribune, "Inside the CIA, she became a spy for planet Earth," 8 Jan. 2021 That is of particular interest to the Pentagon and intelligence community, which has long wanted the ability to quickly launch a reconnaissance satellite over, say, North Korea. Washington Post, "Virginia has a rocket launch site, and it’s about to grow with the most successful startup since SpaceX," 2 Oct. 2020 In 1986, a European rocket body had broken apart, most likely because something collided with it; one of its fragments orbited for years before smashing into a stabilizing boom on a French reconnaissance satellite. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, "Read More," 21 Sep. 2020 Among them support from the United States, which sent a P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance plane, to aid the desperate search in a race against time as oxygen supplies onboard depleted. NBC News, "Indonesia submarine: Video emerges of crew singing farewell weeks before disaster," 27 Apr. 2021 Indonesia initially had pressed ahead with a search Saturday, hours after the oxygen supply for 53 crew members aboard was believed to have been exhausted, with a U.S. reconnaissance plane and other nations' vessels set to join the hunt. Fox News, "Indonesia submarine declared sunk, no hope of survivors," 24 Apr. 2021 The Indonesian navy has cleared an American reconnaissance plane, a P-8 Poseidon, to help in the efforts, along with a warship from Australia. Washington Post, "Indonesia finds items from missing submarine, indicating it has sunk," 24 Apr. 2021 Alexander Lofgren, 32, and 27-year old Emily Henkel, both from Tuscon, were located on a steep ledge Thursday via aerial reconnaissance, the Inyo County Sheriff's office said in a series of press releases. Jenn Selva And Susannah Cullinane, CNN, "Arizona congressional aide found dead after being reported missing in Death Valley," 11 Apr. 2021 It is intended for surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and search-and-rescue missions. David Hambling, Forbes, "Anduril Is About To Give An AI Brain Transplant To Area-I’s Drones," 7 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reconnaissance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of reconnaissance

1779, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for reconnaissance

French, literally, recognition, from Middle French reconoissance, from Old French reconoistre to recognize

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Time Traveler for reconnaissance

Time Traveler

The first known use of reconnaissance was in 1779

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Statistics for reconnaissance

Last Updated

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reconnaissance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for reconnaissance



English Language Learners Definition of reconnaissance

: military activity in which soldiers, airplanes, etc., are sent to find out information about an enemy


re·​con·​nais·​sance | \ ri-ˈkä-nə-zəns How to pronounce reconnaissance (audio) \

Kids Definition of reconnaissance

: a survey (as of enemy territory) to get information

Comments on reconnaissance

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